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Mini Ninjas Adventures (Xbox Kinect)
Reviewed On: Xbox Kinect
Available For: Xbox Kinect
Publisher: Square Enix
Age: 7 (PEGI)
Back in 2009, when Mini Ninjas was first released, it was a unique looking action game set out to capture the imagination and hearts of the younger audience. My young nephew loved it and cut through it like a hot katana through sinew. Now developers Side-Kick have revisited the franchise and offer the gamer a new slice of the action but with a major twist - it's now for the Xbox Kinect.
Staying true to the cut and thrust of the original title, Adventures is an all out action game, but with a new spin. Utilising the three weapons available, players must traverse the scenery whilst annihilating hordes of enemies. The bow is for far away bad guys, the kitana for up-close and personal, and the shurikens for somewhere in between.
Although the presentation is great with an art style perfectly matching the original, there are problems with the gestures needed to unleash the fury. Do them too fast, and the Kinect won't register them, too slow and you'll get messed up by bad dudes. It's satisfying when it works correctly, but that's not too often.
There's also a blocking system to keep players on their toes. As weapons are hurled though the air, players must look sharp and block at the right moment. It takes a while to perfect, but it it does deliver a strong element of fun to the action.
The special move is another nicely implemented extra. Who wouldn't want to shout 'ninja' whilst throwing their hands out to send their on-screen character into a baddie beating frenzy? It really is quite cool - even if you do look and sound like a wally in doing so.
This past year my Kinect set-up has included enough room to swing a redundant controller, so I believe the sluggish responsiveness is purely down to the poor implementation of the the control system and not the environment. I like to use my Kinect as much as possible, but some games would just be better off played on a controller, and I strongly feel Mini Ninjas is one of them.
Knowing he's a well seasoned veteran to Mini Ninjas, I played it with my nephew. Unlike the original though, he wasn't particularly enamoured by it. Even for kids, the cracks in the responsiveness of the control system can easily hamper their enjoyment. Nobody, youngster or elder, like to be cheated by something beyond their control.
Fun when it works - frustrating most of the time.
SCORE: 4 / 10
PROS: Lots of fun when it works well.
CONS: Doesn't often work well.